High time for global association.
International cooperation will be the driver for surviving the post-corona world.

Interview with Professor Kenki Adachi
of the College of International Relations

This interview was conducted on July 9, 2020.

Thinking about how the education should function
during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Do you have any opinion about the classes during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Prof. Adachi: The College of International Relations enjoys the particularly large number of interactions with other countries. The challenge I face now is how I could reinforce learning under the situation where we can’t freely go abroad.
 Also, it is important to produce effective online classes, i.e. online classes that are equally or more effective as the ordinary face-to-face classes. In the lecture room, I was able to get the direct feedback from the students just by walking around in the room, which is almost impossible in the online classes.
 I try to achieve bidirectional or interactive communications with my students, such as by giving responses to their comments in the next class.

I’ve heard that there are many overseas students in your seminar class.
How do they cope with the current situation?

Prof. Adachi: Those who couldn’t come back to Japan stay in their native countries and join the online classes. It’s good that you can join the overseas university classes without travelling to the actual place: nevertheless, some students understandably miss Japan.
 On the other hand, the students who chose to stay in Japan are frustrated because they can’t go out and have the firsthand knowledge of Japan although they are in Kyoto. The ordinary life in Japan, which should have been the best part of studying in Japan, was taken away from those students, and they feel very sorry for the reduced opportunities for socialization.
 In order to alleviate the problem, even if only slightly, I support them in increasing the ordinary communication opportunities by sparing a time for a chat before and after each online class.

What do you think the advantages of the online classes?

Prof. Adachi: By observing the students, I found that they show higher levels of comprehension on some topics in online classes than in face-to-face classes.
 Some students said that they can more actively speak up in the online classes. Because a video of each of the classes is distributed for the on-demand classes, you can rewind and fast-forward the video along with your pace of learning.
 It may be a good idea to use the videos for students’ review of what they learned in the future. I’m thinking about forming a hybrid class by combining the advantages of online and face-to-face classes

What will International politics and Japanese society be like from now on?

Were there any thought-provoking topics under the pandemic?

Prof. Adachi: From the viewpoint of politics, I could focus on what I haven’t noticed during the ordinary times ⎯ before the pandemic. Because the infection preventive measures and the economic policy proposed by the government directly affected our way of lives, many people felt the politics nearer to themselves and were much more interested in it than before.
 During the coronavirus pandemic, we comparatively investigated into leaders and policies of various countries. So, the pandemic gave us the opportunity to figure out the ideal leader and the necessary measures. I expect that, if this tendency continues, it can lead to a political improvement.

I found that the measures taken by each of the countries during the pandemic were marked by the my-country-first policy.
What do you think is the cause for the policy?

Prof. Adachi: Diversification of information may be one of the causes. It is possible to direct a piece of political information to a limited number of specific people.
 Because SNS is used as a political tool nowadays, it has become easier to win power by formulating a policy to the benefit of a certain group of people. Such a change became the driver of the my-country-first policy under which all you care about is your country.
 Having said that, when you want to transmit novel coronavirus-related information, you can’t manipulate the information as you do in sending fake information. In this sense, the spread of novel coronavirus will make it impossible to gain power by sending fake or false information to a certain group of people using SNS.
 So, I hope the novel coronavirus pandemic will be the motivator for all the people around the world to give up acting for a small area and to recognize the importance of achieving unity with a global perspective.

What do you think Japan has to do next?

Prof. Adachi: The novel coronavirus is a cross-border, international issue. Because many countries have been inclined to the my-country-first policy, I hope that Japan will be the leading country to promote and reaffirm the significance of the international cooperation.
 I suppose you know the idea of “human security” for protecting human lives. Japan started to push forward with the idea from the end of 90s and has been recognized as the leading country in this field. Further, the viewpoint of realizing the world that “leaves no one behind” held out in the SDGs is closely linked to the human security and is considered to be very important in the international community.
 Japan will be required to encourage other countries by leveraging the experience of taking the leadership in the field. Also, the process of containing the novel coronavirus while protecting the freedom and rights of citizens, which is called the Japan model, is attracting international attention.
 I think there is a room for Japan to exhibit the leadership in developing a strategy for combating with the novel coronavirus while protecting the democracy, human rights, freedom, and so forth.

What can universities do now?

Could you give the students some advice as to how we should live our lives in the post-corona world?

Prof. Adachi: Even when the coronavirus pandemic ultimately comes to an end, the world will not be restored to the former state. Naturally, those who can cope with the new era to come will survive.
 You, the students currently enrolled at the university, are of digital native generation, have been exposed to an enormous amount of information, and therefore are capable of flexible way of thinking.
 I’m sure that you can amass strength for creating something new by thinking deeply about what you can do now. Particularly, many of you studying at the College of International Relations want to work internationally.

At the moment, you might be frustrated because you have to refrain from going out, but please effectively utilize this situation as the preparation period for a profound learning experience.
 In fact, if you study abroad without preparing for it, what you’ll learn can be very limited. There are many things to learn in a country foreign to you, but some of them just remain out of your reach if you don’t know anything about it in advance.
 So, I’d like to advise the students planning to challenge abroad to conduct a great deal of preparatory study. It is important to do what you can do now and learn what you have to learn now, while avoiding to think in a way that limits your possibilities.
 What you have learned will be the wealth you can rely on for surviving the post-corona world and might serve as a springboard for your success.

How do you want the students to utilize the university?

Prof. Adachi: One of the values of a university is that you have accesses to various kinds of information and you can nurture the ability to understand the information. The other is that you can easily create a network because the people of your generation gather at a university.
 The network you built in your college days will help you very much after graduation. It is now a bit difficult to create a new community because of the online-oriented classes, but some of the communities can be created via online, or you might find that a certain a type of community can be created only via online.
 I hope you make use of the university as an academic playground where you can expand your network and knowledge.

Perhaps making friends with students from different academic fields is actually one of the appeals of a university.

Prof. Adachi: It is a very precious experience to connect the knowledge of your academic field to a different one, thereby to expand a horizontal intellectual communication network. It will be increasingly important to nurture the ability to find an answer to a question with no definitive answer or to an unanswered problem.
 I hope the students will be inspired by the professors to learn the technique of finding such an answer by nurturing the ability. In the post-corona world, you will be questioned if you can do what others can’t, or if you have your own specialty. Please expand your knowledge and cultivate comprehensive ability to start searching for “what only you can do”.


It is important to think deeply over what you can do now in order to make a leap in the post-corona world.
Please effectively use the university: leverage the knowledge and the networks aggregated in the university
and spend time there as a preparatory period
for achieving what only you can do.


Professor Kenki Adachi specializes in international politics,
arms reduction and control theory,
global governance theory, and civil society theory.


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